It has been 14 days since I made the commitment to Whole 30, the popular month-long clean eating program where followers eliminate grains, dairy, added sugar, legumes and alcohol, (or as the founders like to call it “hormone-unbalancing, gut-disrupting, inflammatory food groups”) from their diets. The plan claims to provide benefits such as higher energy levels, improved sleep quality, better athletic performance, and a decrease in food cravings, among others. Emotionally, the plan aims to “reshape long-standing, unhealthy patterns related to food, eating, and your body image.” All of this sounded quite intriguing to me, and so I decided to try it for the month of August.
Last week I gave my readers an update on my Whole 30 experience thus far, stating that the most notable change has been my sleeping habits. This week, I have a number of new observations to share, as well as suggestions for making Whole 30 work for you if you are someone who may be interested in trying it, or simply looking to incorporate a few of the core principles of the guide into your existing diet. All that being said, here are my thoughts on Whole 30, week 2:
Increased Energy Levels
On Tuesday morning, I woke up after another excellent nights sleep (another side effect of Whole 30), and for the first time in what has likely been years I felt well rested. Normally I wake up drowsy and tired before I am supposed to workout, but I felt like I could go run a marathon. Well, maybe not a marathon, but my workout that morning was one of my very best in a while. I had been waiting for the day where my energy levels increased; it was one of the key reasons I wanted to try this guide! Sure, I still get tired over the course of the day, but I am not experiencing my 3pm crash, or yawning at my desk while at work despite a full 8 hours. This is one of the side effects that I am most excited about, for sure.
I have always been someone who craves sweet treats, ice cream being my number 1 weakness. This week, however, I noticed that I was beginning to crave salty foods, something that I’ve never experienced before. I was curious about what this meant, so I took it upon myself to do some research. Salt cravings are common in the Paleo diet, the explanation for which makes complete sense when comparing it with Whole 30. When you eliminate processed foods, you are in tern eliminating a significant amount of salt and sugar that is hidden within them. When you suddenly drop your salt intake by a significant amount, your body begins to crave it in an effort to compensate for the losses. In researching this side effect I also learned that most of us are eating above the recommended daily salt intake. When switching to a Paleo diet or suddenly eliminating a significant amount of salt from your diet, you can actually drop you into a salt deficiency, and so I have been mindful of adding salt to my foods so to not fall into that category.
Put Your Goals First
One thing I was not expecting from my Whole 30 experience was the amount of criticism and negative reactions I have received from peers and family members. I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me; I have had many people tell me that I am crazy for working out as often as I do, or for being so mindful of my diet since the beginning of my fitness journey. No matter what you’re doing, someone somewhere will disagree. What I have learned, however, is that how you choose to take care of your body is nobodies business but your own. Your goals are personal, and worrying about outside influences is a waste of time and energy on both parts. Although I am choosing to take care of myself by eliminating certain foods from my diet, some people may look at it as depriving myself. It is all a matter of perspective, and I know the only opinion that matters is my own. If people want to tell me that I am crazy for doing this, I just remind them that it has no impact on their lives. They can choose to take care of their own body however they like! It doesn’t change my opinion of them or what I’m doing.
The truth is that you’re feeling empowered by making one good choice after another, all day long. And you should! Take note of that rock star feeling, stash it away, and bring it back out when days get rough.
-Melissa & Dallas Hartwig, Founders of Whole 30
Two weeks into Whole 30 and I know now for a fact that I can complete this month without cheating or falling off the wagon. I think the biggest reason my confidence is so high is due to the fact that I am not craving any of the things I have eliminated! I have also found a meal planning tactic that works for me, how to navigate a night out to eat, and best of all I am seeing results! It is much easier to follow a guide when you know it is working. By week two you will likely fall into a more comfortable routine. You will have figured out what works for you and what doesn’t. You will have figured out how much food to make for the week and how to navigate your shopping list. All of this will give you confidence going forward.
What I’ve Been Eating
• 2 eggs, turkey bacon, avocado.
• Chia pudding with fresh fruit.
• Smoothie bowl with frozen banana, mango, or pineapple, almond milk, 1 scoop of protein powder or peanut butter, and fruit toppings.
• Spinach salad with tomato, cucumber, pepper, pumpkin seeds, tuna, 1 hard boiled egg, and Whole 30 approved dressing.
• Power Bowl with diced bliss or sweet potato, broccoli, baked eggplant and chicken.
• Curried sweet potato soup with yams, parsley, coconut milk, salt, pepper, onion, curry powder.
• Turkey taco lettuce wraps with fresh ground turkey, peppers, tomatoes and onions on bib lettuce wraps.
• Fresh fish with asparagus or broccoli, sweet potatoes and cooked spinach.
• Apples, peaches, plums or bananas.
• RxBar (maple sea salt flavor).
• Celery with all natural peanut butter.
• Diced bananas with fresh figs, cinnamon and walnuts.
Overall, week 2 appears to be the week where I am starting to see real results and side effects from this dietary change. I am excited to see how my body continues to react to the elimination of so many inflammatory foods, and will be tracking my salty cravings to make sure that they are not the result of a salt deficiency. My end goal (as I’ve stated before) is not to lose weight, but rather to fine tune my eating to accommodate to any food sensitivities that I was previously unaware of!
As always, if you have any questions concerning Whole 30 do not hesitate to ask! My review on Week 3 will be posted next Sunday, so be on the lookout for that 🙂